Mar 08, 2010

New FHA Loan Guidelines

For anyone who was counting on getting FHA help with lining up a home mortgage -- via the FHA loan program, in which borrowers who present higher risks than others, most likely due to low credit scores, may qualify for a loan backed by the FHA -- that plan is starting to look a little more tenuous.

The FHA has tightened up its standards, including:
  • requiring down payments of at least 10% for anyone whose credit score is less than 580
  • cutting the allowable amount of seller financing to 3% of the transaction price, and
  • requiring buyers to pay a higher mortgage insurance fee at closing.

For a good summary of these provisions and their implications, see Al Heavens's article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "On the House: FHA alters borrowers' guidelines."

If you're a home seller, don't panic. The changes don't address all borrowers, but only those who were having trouble finding and closing on a loan in the first place. Qualified buyers are still out there, and in some regions of the United States, eager to find a home. Research your local market before drawing any conclusions on whether now is a good time to put your home up for sale.